Hunger in the south… Ukraine’s war “rolls” on the poor

Experts expect southern countries, including Kenya, to see ‘hunger revolutions’ (Simon Mina/AFP)

Before the Russian war against Ukraine, many societies, mostly in the southern regions of the globe, classified as less wealthy and less developed than the northern countries, suffered catastrophic consequences of climate change, the most important of which were in terms of rain and drought and the decline of agricultural areas, in a context of endemic corruption and the absence of appropriate policies to improve security and solve the problems of dependence on imports from abroad . This situation transformed the social classes of these countries into poverty, then the war broke out in Ukraine on February 24, which amplified the scale of the drama after the prices of foodstuffs increased in an unprecedented way, and in just a few weeks, 100 million people have joined the 700 million others classified without The poverty line in the world, and their daily income does not exceed $1.90.
And last year, according to indicators from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), food prices increased by 28%. As for the war in Ukraine, it has brought additional suffering in terms of energy and food, threatening social crises that shatter an already burdened situation for real people, at the mercy of poverty.
Experts and analysts believe that the explosion of “hunger revolutions” and security tensions could be among the most important results of the effects of the war in Ukraine, especially in poor countries. A report prepared by the “FAO” pegged the rate of price increase last March at 12.6%, calling it “historic and unprecedented, which included about 95 commodities, and that is only the onset of tougher ups in the period ahead”. ”

And if societies in the Nordic countries, like those in Scandinavia and northern Europe, regain networks of safety, care and well-being, as their governments adopt food safety policies, experts believe that the Succession of life crises in the poor countries of the South heralds an explosion similar to the “hunger revolutions”.
In countries whose societies are already on the brink of extreme poverty, including in the Middle East, the expansion of hunger and misery threatens stability and social peace, fragile in some of them, noting that reports published by several international bodies, including “FAO”, warned that the interruption of the export of basic products, including wheat and oils, 30% of which are exported by Russia and Ukraine in the global market, will affect poor communities more than the impact of high fuel prices in the US and wealthy European countries.
In turn, the director general of the World Food Program, David Beasley, warned on March 7 in an opinion piece he wrote in the “Washington Post” of the dangers of pushing hundreds of millions of people towards more poverty and hunger as a result of the war in Ukraine. He considered that “the results will be catastrophic for poor societies”, which was also argued by European specialists who linked the disruption of the means of ensuring survival needs to the possibility of revolutions in poor countries. The director of the Danish Organization for Agriculture and Food, Martin Christian Brauer, also spoke to the newspaper “Berlingska” about the social revolutions and the disasters of hunger to come in the countries of the south like Tunisia, Libya , Yemen, Sudan, Kenya and Tanzania.

Tunisia is one of the countries threatened by a food crisis (Anis Mili / AFP)

Ukrainian War Dominoes
And recently, the European debate has intensified on the need to raise the level of alert that famine and crises will hit the societies of the neighboring southern countries of the continent, which could lead to a new immigration crisis. towards Europe. The “Green Peace” organization alluded to the counter-productive effects of the food and energy crisis on the poor, recalling that “poverty and the food crisis constituted a powerful engine of the revolutions of the societies of the Arab spring in 2010”. She said that “with many classes finally joining the poor, the further rise in prices and the spread of hunger will be a prelude to the spread of social and political protests and the taking of peoples to the streets, which may lead to violent clashes and conflicts.
European countries have indeed rushed to take action, and the European Union in particular has started to seek common solutions to mitigate the impact of the sharp rise in energy prices, fearing the outbreak of social protests. , but the countries of the South have been left behind in the face of the obstacles themselves, which threatens social explosions that could affect Europe itself.
The director of the British NGO One for Development, David McNair, pointed out that “rising prices play a major role in coping with social conditions and stability in the countries of the South if the dominoes roll towards more poverty and of hunger”. the people of these countries are basically the poorest, most of the money they earn goes to support themselves. With rising prices, they won’t be able to stop the hunger.

The war in Ukraine has driven food prices up in an unprecedented way (Daniel Harvey/Getty)

He adds: “Egypt witnessed, for example, the so-called bread uprising in 1977, which was followed by high prices and the spread of poverty in the societies of Middle Eastern countries and North Africa, which has led to unrest which has not subsided and which And things are currently heading towards widespread unrest reminiscent of the spark of the Arab Spring which played The living situation played a key role there, even if it raised the slogans of freedom, democracy and social justice, and given that prices are now much higher than they were in 2011, it is to be feared that the current crisis lead to more trouble.
Last March, the head of the United Nations World Food Programme, Abeer Atifa, told the British newspaper The Guardian: “The war in Ukraine is causing hunger and food shortages in other places facing the possibility of instability and of violence, and it comes at a time when the world doesn’t need it. In fact, another fight.
She added: “While climate change and drought that have affected many parts of neighboring countries in southern Europe have aggravated the crises of these societies over the past two decades, the war in Ukraine is pouring fueling the embers of congestion on the streets that can barely afford cooking oil and lack the capacity to secure the necessities to survive on Alive.”

There is a relative “safety net” in Scandinavia and Northern Europe (Tobias Schwartz/AFP)

Middle Eastern societies ‘extremely worrying’
The International Food Policy Research Center describes the situation in Middle Eastern societies as “extremely worrying, especially in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Yemen and Syria, which are expected to experience unrest related to poverty and to hunger, and the center warns that the expansion of the United States and the European Union, their sanctions against Russia to include energy will lead to a crazy increase. In the prices, the countries of the South are not only concerned with the hunger of the starving, but also with the problems of ruin which will strike the stability of their societies through popular protests and revolutions which will also be accompanied by enormous waves. asylum and migration to the West. Until then, Europe seems very keen to tackle the problem of millions of Ukrainian refugees, knowing that it is not in its interest to see the conditions of neighboring communities explode due to poverty and hunger. , but that also does not prevent Brussels’ policy from being criticized for the absence of real plans to limit the catastrophic consequences for communities in the poor south.
The Center is not surprised by the Europeans’ interest in Ukraine at first, “but the waves of tension expected in the southern hemisphere should not be overlooked, because the Europeans are not investing much to mitigate the effects of food shortages and the absence of real policies to deal with the expansion of poverty and hunger.
Since the “refugee crisis”, Europe has chosen to allocate resources to development programs in developing countries to deal with the integration process of hundreds of thousands of new arrivals in 2015 and 2016. With the arrival of Ukrainian refugees, many fear, including the organization “One” in London, that Europe is heading towards a reduction in foreign aid, and earmarking it to cope with the influx of millions.

In summary, experts believe that Europe’s focus on mitigating the impact of high prices and burdens associated with the war in Ukraine on its societies, in conjunction with the accumulation of crises in societies Mediterranean and African countries after years of stagnant reforms and deteriorating living conditions, and the registration of millions of people in the queues of the poor, will eventually lead to “bread and hunger revolutions” in the southern countries.

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